Pulling back the layers of gut health
Hey hey Diva friends!
Today I am PUMPED to share some updates with you! Many of you have followed me through my FDN journey with my certification and part of that process was becoming a client myself so I could experience the process and hello....work on my own gut issues!
I recently shared my Journey with H. Pylori and how my testing revealed that i hadn't eradicated it the first time so I needed to go for a second round. While my husband had knocked his out in one fell swoop ( with a shorter protocol while also being less compliant) my gut (as usual) was proving difficult.
I am happy to announce that since I received my last test in April I am H Pylori free! That was step #1 and NOW, I'm finally getting to the ROOT of my digestive struggles.
Your gut is a really intricate web of little bug good and bad. Normally they live in synergy and the good bacteria keeps the opportunistic bacteria in check. Your stomach acid also plays a major roll in not only breaking down your food, but also keeping nasty pathogens at bay.
When there becomes an imbalance whether from stress, poor diet, antibiotic use, or other (check off all of the above and MORE in my history), this ecosystem of opportunistic bacteria begins to thrive where yeast, fungi, parasites, bacteria, and inflammation all creates the perfect environment for the other to thrive and more of ten than not, when one is found awry, others are to follow....
This is what I discovered in my most recent test. Now that I had been on a protocol for a period of time I was finally able to see what was ACTUALLY underneath. Literally. Pathogens like to create and live in something called a biofilm that protect them. Sort of like a spiderweb of protection for them against your mucosal lining. GROSS!
Anyway, when you go on any sort of pathogen protocol a large part of the process is breaking that home up WHILE targeting the bacteria AND restoring your good bacteria through food and probiotics and gut healing supplements.
But I digress.....now that my insides are exposed so to speak, I could see what was really happening....Below are some snapshots of my test results:
WHEW! Ok let's break this down.
1) I have to major parasites: cryptosporidium and cyclosporine. These nasty bugs are what's called intracellular parasites where they have a life cycle of 7 days and weave in and out of your cells causing damage galore.
2) I have an amoeba called endolimax nana - also not great
3) Some bacteria dysbiosis (imbalance between the good and bad)
4) Notice in the Phyla Microbiota the ratio is HIGH. The section explains the ratio between gram negative and gram positive bacteria. You'd like it to be under 1. High ratios like mine are typically found in obese subjects or people who have difficulty posting weight which could potentially explain the difficulty I've been having over the past year in losing weight regardless of how clean my diet is.
5) My beta glucaronidase level is high. This is a marker for detoxification and while I could use a supplement to work on that, the supplement can also lower your estrogen. Since I have historically had low hormones and have been working on increasing them this is a marker I will watch as it hopefully goes down through the process.
6) My SigA is very low. This is your first line of defense in your mucosal lining. It's an immune system marker and mine is low ( but not as low as I've seen!). For reference, below 500 is considered a suppressed immune system response. This is something I will work on through my protocol.
7) A random yeast overgrowth - small, but you don't want that to get out of control!
8) Finally, I'd like to draw your attention to the zonulin marker. I love this marker because zonulin essentially tests you if you have a leaky gut or not. Zonulin's roll in the body is to open the tight junctions between the cells in your epithelial cell wall that lines your gut. This can be cause be eating foods like gluten that have been shown to stimulate zonlulin and cause leaky gut, or zonulin can be increased due to infections because it's other roll is shuttling out the bad stuff.
So in my case, we think the zonulin is so high because of the parasites wreaking havoc. The zonulin is trying to help me by flushing out the toxins as fast as it can.
WOAH BOY!!!! That's a lot to work on. But also very encouraging because several things that have been happening in my body this past year have been SO frustrating when I feel like I'm doing everything RIGHT! This is why it's so important to TEST DON'T GUESS!!!!
I'm on a 60 day parasite protocol followed by a 60 day bacteria protocol ( remember these guys really like to feed off each other!) The protocol will address the parasites, boost my immune system, focus on healing my gut lining, and knock out the extra yeast and bacteria.
In a way, these results make me THANKFUL. I was really getting frustrated with my inability to lose weight, my perfect (literally) diet and my lack of digestion perfection....while SO MUCH has improved for me (energy, sleep, mood, PMS, etc....) I obviously still lave some digging to do.
Many of you may wonder why I don't run to take an antibiotic with results like this! I completely understand that questions and trust me, I've considered the easier, less expensive, and shorter route that that provides. Unfortunately, antibiotics are a large part of why my gut looks like this in the first place. When you use them they not only kill the bad but the good bacteria as well and it's when those good bacteria get low that the opportunistic bacteria latch on. While we can restore health and boost your microbiome we don't know yet if you can ever fully restore your microbiome to it's full glory - meaning - you never ever want to full kill of an entire strain in your body because you don't really know if you can ever get it back!!!
I would also be concerned about taking an antibiotic at this time due to the high level of zonulin which can indicate some inflammation. I don't want to put any fuel on the fire right now so I'm choosing my slow, steady, herbal route complete with nutrition and patience :)
I hope this blog is helpful! It's funny as a practitioner sharing when you have your own struggles. Part of me wants to act like I have it all together for you but in reality who does that serve? The whole reason I became an FDN is because I was seeking to find the cause of all my health concerns including fatigue, bloating and non-existent hormones! Now I'm finally getting the the root of it all and how crappy would it be not to share the process?
I'll keep ya posted :) Let me know if you have any questions below!